Nigerian Banks Building Biometric Customer Registry

Biometric CommerceNigerians will soon need to enroll in a biometric identification system to do their banking, according to an article by Bukola Idowu in the country’s Leadership newspaper. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initialized this Bank Verification Number (BVN) project nine months ago, and is now attempting to fast-track enrolment.

The system requires that every citizen who banks in the country must have their face and fingerprints scanned for storage in a database that will be used to identify them in any bank they use in the country. The deadline for registration is March of next year, but the CBN’s director has now asked that all banks get at least 40 percent of their customer signed up by the end of the year. It’s part of an effort to cut down on fraud and other kinds of electronic crime.

In a country noted for its preponderance of mobile devices with a population used to accessing the internet through their phones, this move into online security makes a lot of sense as citizens’ online activity increases while fraud follows suit. It’s also a logical extension of a nationwide initiative to set up a biometric registry of citizens connected to national identity cards, a project very similar to India’s Aadhaar program.

November 10, 2014 – by Alex Perala